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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Le Front de gauche, et après ?

by Sébastien Crépel

The Left Front: What Next ?

Translated Saturday 25 July 2009, by Kristina Wischenkamper and reviewed by Bill Scoble

Marie-George Buffet has announced initiatives to continue the front beyond the European elections and open it up to citizens and interested groups with a view to making it a majority force.

Is the Left Front an electoral coup without a future? Marie-George Buffet gave the lie to sceptics very clearly yesterday by announcing a series of steps to be taken to ‘continue and build the Left Front making it more popular, open to more citizens and more progressive groups’. The election result, considered ‘satisfactory for a new and growing initiative’ is thanks to the militant mobilisation in which the communists played a ‘key role’ (6.47% nationally and 5 MEPs) and encourages a ‘pursuit of the united movement’ beyond the European elections, she said. ‘It’s the only way’ insists the communist leader ‘to create the conditions for a popular majority movement’ of a progressive Left.

A popular majority movement

What needs to be done? For Marie-George Buffet ‘the Left Front has no limits’, it does not confine itself to representing ‘the left of the Left’ but sets its sights on creating a popular majority movement for a Left that wants change. Criticising the imagined moves to rethink the Left around François Bayrou and then, since Sunday, Daniel Cohn-Bendit as ‘unserious because they take too many shortcuts’, the national secretary of the PCF (French Communist Party) deems that ‘social democrats have shown no response’ to the crisis other than anti-Sarkozyism. This in itself does not allow ‘the creation of a project, propositions, and a union to defeat the Right’. ‘I don’t relish this’ she declared announcing initiatives on a number of fronts. ‘The PCF calls upon all of the Left, the political groups but also the entirety of the women and men of the left, to work on a political project which will meet all the popular demands’, she announced. "Voters and active members of the PS (Socialist Party) and NPA (New Anticapitalist Party), which didn’t join the Left Front, but who feel the relevance of such a Left Front can take part without being self-contradictory" she explained.

She also proposed to her colleagues in the Left Front (Parti de Gauche [Left Party], Gauche unitaire [United Left], République et socialisme [Republic and Socialism]*) ‘to create a platform for open debate for all the women and men of the left so that they can take charge of this Left Front’. Propositions which will be made locally throughout the country, Olivier Dartignolles, speaker for the PCF made clear, with the objective of bringing them all together at the Humanité Festival in September.

In the meantime the PCF proposes that political groups, intellectuals, trade unionists, economists, artists, and elected members active in the Left Front "work together to organise a meeting at the end of the month in a large Paris assembly room to establish the working plan for a political project emerging from the very heart of the current social struggles".

Coming back to the abstention that marred the European elections, the deputy of Seine-Saint Denis thinks that the electors were expressing ‘social suffering’ and ‘doubts about the efficacity of their vote’ in the face of "a Europe which is made without them and against them’ as witnessed by the fact that ‘their vote of 2005 was ignored". "Since Sunday the Right is trying to make the vote its own, but June 7th hasn’t given the go ahead to the liberals", remarks Marie-George Buffet who suggests the UMP score be put in context in terms of the abstention, with ‘7 million fewer votes for the UMP’s lists, a very far cry from the score in the presidential elections’.

Finally, according to Buffet, the high score of Europe Ecologie bears witness to "the aspirations of our fellow citizens to take into account environmental concerns". She repeated that the Left Front shares these concerns but calls for a "debate about the political choices implied by sustainable development", which demands notably a battle to defeat liberalisation such as in transport, or more so "a rethink of industrial development" so as not to put it in direct opposition to ecological preoccupations.

Sébastien Crépel

* A political break-away group formed in response to their party - Mouvement républicain et citoyen (Citizen and Republican Movement) - voting not to join the Left Front

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